Peter Johnston is a climate scientist at the University of Cape Town. His research focuses on the applications and impacts of climate variability and change on various user sectors. He specialises in agriculture and water related activities with special emphasis on vulnerability and adaptation options. He has worked closely with the Western Cape Government in developing a climate change vulnerability study and this was followed by a strategy and action plan. He was also involved in the African centre for cities looking at adaptation frameworks for both Cape Town and Johannesburg. His interests and involvements have taken him to many African countries to learn from and contribute to other water and agricultural adaptive practices to climate change and variability. Current research includes the application of models to determine the sustainable adaptation options for agricultural under climate change scenarios for commercial and small scale farmers. His latest work is focused on the climate risks and decision-making time frames associated with agriculture and food security to assist with a new SmartAgri response strategy for Western Cape Department of Agriculture.
He is PI of a current AAUN Proposal Development titled “Agro-diverse farming systems in Africa: potential for improving Food and Nutritional Security in the context of climate variability and change” involving parallel case studies in South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria and Western Australia.
He is also involved in the PROSUL project looking at increasing the resilience of value chains in cassava, red meat and horticulture in Mozambique.
Peter has given many public presentations to governmental, educational, agricultural, water related and general interest groups. He has numerous publications and co-authored the South African chapter of Southern African Agriculture and Climate Change. He is also the co-author of several school science and geography text books.
- Fujisawa M, Kobayashi K, Johnston P, New M, 2015. What Drives Farmers to Make Top-Down or Bottom-Up Adaptation to Climate Change and Fluctuations? A Comparative Study on 3 Cases of Apple Farming in Japan and South Africa. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0120563. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120563
- Johnston, Peter, Timothy S. Thomas, Sepo Hachigonta, and Lindiwe Majele Sibanda 2013,South Africa, Chapter in Hachigonta Sepo, Gerald C. Nelson, Timothy S. Thomas, and Lindiwe Majele Sibanda … Southern African agriculture and climate change: A comprehensive analysis, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC 333p
- Tadross and Johnston 2011, Projected Climate Change over Southern Africa; Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Mauritius, Report for ICLEI, February 2011
- Johnston P, 2011, The uptake and usefulness of seasonal forecasting products: a case study of commercial maize farmers in South Africa, Lambert Academic Publishers, 191p
- Ziervogel G, Johnston P, Mukheibir P and Matthew M., (2010) Using enhanced knowledge of climate variability for adapting to climate change in water resource management in South Africa, Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9771-3. www.springerlink.com/ content/h374651017256w87/
- Akponikpe, P B I., Johnston, P and Agboussou, EK (in preparation) An investigation into climate knowledge and perception of climate variability and change amongst farmers along the West African climate gradient
- Johnston PA, DB Louw, Crespo O and Lumsden TG, 2008, Quantifying the costs, benefits and risks associated with planning and management alternatives associated with climate risk for water resource development – the Berg River Catchment Area Case Study (South Africa) - Moving best samples into good practice in Petermann T 2008, Towards Climate Change Adaptation, InWent, Germany
- Johnston PA, Ziervogel G and Matthew M, 2007. The Uptake and Usefulness of Weather and Climate Information among Water Resource Managers. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences 30:380-389
- Midgley GF, Chapman RA, Hewitson B, Johnston P, De Wit M, Ziervogel G, Mukheibir P, Van Niekerk L, Tadross M, Van Wilgen BW, Kgope B, Morant PD, Theron A, Scholes RJ, Forsyth GG, 2005: A Status Quo, Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment of the Physical and Socio-Economic Effects of Climate Change in the Western Cape
- Usman MT, Archer ERM, Johnston PA and Tadross M, 2005. A Conceptual Framework for Enhancing the Utility of Rainfall Hazard Forecasts for Agriculture in Marginal Environments, Natural Hazards, Volume 34, Issue 1, Jan 2005, pp 111 – 129
- Johnston PA, Archer ERM, Vogel CH, Bezuidenhout CN, Tennant WJ, Kuschke R, 2004. Review of seasonal forecasting in South Africa: producer to end-user. Climate Research 28(1) pp67-82
Projects and experience
- NAP training workshop facilitation for Gambian government – May 2015 for UNDP
- Australia African University Network Principal Investigator for project proposal development: Agro-diverse farming systems in Africa: potential for improving Food and Nutritional Security in the context of climate variability and change; a collaboration with selected Australian, Nigerian, Malawian and South African Universities
- Western Cape Dept of Agriculture SmartAgri project 2014-2015. Researcher.
- WRC funded project: Planning for Climate change adaptation: Applying scientific climate change projections to local social realities 2012-2014
- WRC funded project: Applications of rainfall forecasts for agriculturally related decision-making in selected catchments. 2008-2010
- WRC funded project: Adaptive interventions in agriculture to reduce vulnerability of different farming systems to climate change in South Africa 2009-2015 (principal investigator)
- CLEI Sub-Saharan African Cities: A five-City Network to Pioneer Climate Adaptation through Participatory Research & Local Action 2010-2012
- IDRC funded project: Managing climate risk for agriculture and water resources development in South Africa: Quantifying the costs, benefits and risks associated with planning and management alternatives. 2007-2010
- Researcher for WRC funded project: Applications of rainfall forecasts for agriculturally related decision-making in selected catchments. 2007-2009
- Researcher and contributing author to the City of Joburg Climate Change Response Strategy Plan, with WSP Consulting, submitted 2009.
- Project manager (design phase) of the DIFD funded project: A Regional Climate Change Programme for SADC. 2008
- Researcher and co-PI for a WRC funded project: Climate for Water, which has analysed the uptake of weather and climate forecast information among water resource managers – 2006- 2008.
- Researcher and contributing author for The Western Cape Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, submitted March 2007. Commissioned by the W Cape Provincial Government 2006.
Researcher and contributing author for Status Quo, Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment of the Physical and Socio-Economic Effects of Climate Change in the Western Cape, commissioned by the W Cape Provincial Government 2005.
- Participant: Climate Adaptation and Vulnerability Assessment Techniques., Trieste, Italy 2004
- Co-ordinator: International workshop on African Climate Change 2003, on behalf of the ETCCDMI.
- Co-ordinator: Discussion forum for Climate Applications and Impacts(CLAIM) 2001-2005
- DACST Seasonal forecasting downscaling project manager. U Cape Town 2000-4
- Public involvement sub-consultant to CAPE (Cape Action Plan for the Environment), a biodiversity strategy and action plan for the Cape Floral Kingdom, 1999